🏀 Jayhawks Bounce Back with 81-55 Victory over UTEP
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Kansas improved to 5-1 on the year with an 81-55 victory over previously unbeaten UTEP on Saturday, Nov. 27, at the South Point Arena in Las Vegas.
The victory is a bounce-back for the Jayhawks, who suffered their first defeat of the season on Friday against #11/10 Tennessee. KU finishes 1-1 at the South Point Shootout and moved to 3-1 in Las Vegas under coach Brandon Schneider.
The Jayhawks scored the first seven points of the game and built an 11-1 advantage before UTEP got its first field goal nearly five minutes into the game. UTEP hit a trio of three-pointers to cut into the lead, but they were answered by Mia Vuksic, who hit back-to-back threes of her own to help Kansas lead 21-17 after 10 minutes of play.
Vuksic would continue to hit the hot hand in the second quarter, hitting both of her field goal attempts, including another three as she scored 11 points on 4-for-4 shooting in the half. KU used a 13-3 run to build the largest lead of the half at 40-22 with 2:24 to play in the half. The Jayhawks hit 7-of-10 shots from the field in the second and held UTEP to 5-of-19 shooting, which led to KU taking a 44-29 advantage to the locker room.
The second half was much of the same for the Jayhawks, who swarmed the Miners defensively and held UTEP to 29.4 percent field goal shooting from the field. This is the fourth time in six games that KU held their opponent below 30 percent shooting from the field.
Conversely, KU shot better than 50 percent from the field for the third time this season, knocking down 25-of-46 attempts for 54.3 percent shooting. The Jayhawks were led by Holly Kersgieter, who scored 22 points on an efficient 8-of-11 shooting, which included hitting 3-of-5 from three-point range. Kersgieter was was named to the All-Tournament Team for her performance this weekend, which included averages of 19.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.0 assists per game.
Two other Jayhawks reached double figures on Saturday night as Vuksic and Zakiyah Franklin scored 14 points apiece. Vuksic hit 5-of-6 field goal attempts, including 4-of-5 three-pointers, which is right at her average of 80 percent (12-of-15) shooting for the year. Franklin has now scored 10 or more points five times this season and she’s third on the team with 11.5 points per game.
Kansas returns to action with two games at Allen Fieldhouse next week, beginning on Wednesday, Dec. 1, against UTRGV at 7 pm. The Jayhawks will then host Vanderbilt on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 2 pm CT as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
- Holly Kersgieter scored 20 or more points for the first time in her junior season and 12th time in her career. She is now tied with Aniya Thomas for the team lead in scoring at 12.0 points per game.
- Mia Vuksic knocked down 4-of-5 three-point field goals she attempted and she has now hit 12-of-15 threes for the season, which is good for 80.0%. Vuksic has hit three or more three-pointers five times in her career, including in each of the past three games.
- Kansas has held five of their first six opponents to 35% field goal shooting or lower, including four of them shooting less than 30% from the field.
- Matea Nikolic made her Kansas debut during the third quarter on Saturday. She finished with her first game as a Jayhawk with one rebound in 10 minutes of play.
- Kansas started the game on an 11-1 scoring run and had multiple other long runs in the game. KU outscored UTEP 13-3 during a near three-minute stretch in the second quarter and also had a 9-0 run in both the third and fourth quarters.